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1952 British Penny

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Although a number of in-depth and comprehensive references had been written on the British bronze penny, especially those by Charles Peck and Michael Freeman, it was not until October 1997 that an example of a 1952 British penny came to light in a Baldwins auction (https://www.sovr.co.uk/george-vi-1952-proof-penny-the-only-example-that-exists-pf64rb-em13448.html). The coin in question was a proof, which is unsurprising given that the 1950 and 1951 penny mintages were the lowest of the 20th century, and circulating pennies were not struck again until 1961: there was clearly no need for any circulating pennies in 1952.

The circumstances in which the proof were struck are unknown: a number of pattern Elizabeth II pennies were struck in 1952 (p75, Freeman, The Bronze Coinage of Great Britain (1860-1970), 2016) though these were likely for testing of the new obverse and so are likely unrelated. A single proof 1952 English shilling is also known - perhaps there were plans to strike proofs in greater numbers like in 1950 and 1951 before the death of King George VI early in the year.